Your Brand Probably Sucks


The term “brand” continues to have a good deal of misinterpretation and misinformation attached to it – even today as it’s become part of our common daily conversation.  Many, if not most, brands today are not truly brands – they’re simply nice logos attached to products.

Martin Lindstrom, author of Brand Fast Trackers, tapped into Brand Connections’ CEO & Founder Brian Martin about every marketer’s holy grail – consumers’ innermost thoughts.  In his latest book “Buyology – Truth Lies About Why We Buy” Martin cleverly connected over 2,000 people to brain scans in a scientific effort to really determine exactly how different products affect the brain.  Measuring the subject’s pleasure centers in an effort to prove his “smash your brand” theory.  Martin’s theory is that brands continue to retain their value – even when devoid of logos or other clues which consumer’s instinctively recognize.

I’d agree with Lindstrom’s suggestion that the vast majority of today’s consumers are so overwhelmed and jaded by year’s of a barrage of commercials that they now guard themselves when they perceive traditional advertising messaging and collateral.  In that environment, subliminal messaging is far less invasive, and achieves a much higher degree of positive response.

Lindstrom weigh in: “[Marketers] have become so rational,” with their “better-for less” positioning  “it is such a short-term way of building brands.”

To the point, he’s noted that visuals (yes, your logo) is last in the list of sensory importance:  “We’ve learned that the most powerful sense when we’re building brands and selling brands is not the sense of sight, it’s the sense of sound, followed by the sense of taste, touch & smell, then followed by the sense of sight.”

The combination of all five sensory experiences is the goal of marketer’s everywhere – and too often we forget the experience of the brand while concentrating on the imagery and positioning of it.

The challenge may be to take your personal perspective of the brand you know and love aside, and allow others to give you honest (perhaps even painful) feedback about what your brand truly means to them.  Then, reposition the elements of the brand to address those common perceptions.  You may be surprised to learn what your customers and prospects truly feel about it, and how your current brand is, or isn’t working as you’d believed.

Perception is reality – especially in today’s barrage of messaging.  Do you really know how you’re being perceived?  In today’s more-than-challenging market, getting in touch with the reality of your brand, and taking a hard look at the many facets of it (including your logo) may be the difference between survival and financial ruin.  Don’t take your brand for granted – you may well be the worst person to truly identify it’s real value and viability.

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